Math at the Core: Middle School


Find engaging media and integrated activities, all aligned with the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. Designed for middle school students of diverse learning styles and backgrounds. Produced by a collaborative of public media stations and producers with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Watch an introductory video about the Collection.

  • The Lowdown | Poverty Trends: What Does it Mean to Be Poor in America?

    Use math to learn about changes in US wealth distribution and poverty rate over time in this interactive from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students interpret the graphs and consider how the poverty rate spike following the Great Recession of 2008 differs from poverty rate spikes of previous eras. To get the most from this lesson, students should able to interpret data involving percent increase and decrease, and they should be familiar with slope as rate of change over time. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6
  • Ballot Battles: The Voting Rights Act

    Learn how the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act influenced the number of registered African-American voters in the South in this infographic from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students analyze percentages and ratios and explore ways that infographics support the understanding of numbers. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6-7
  • The Lowdown | Rot and Rubbish: The Rancid Truth About How Much Food We Waste

    Explore the math of worldwide food waste, with focus on percentage, in this infographic from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students predict the percent of food in each of the various categories (e.g., grains, fruit, etc.) that their own families waste, and then compare their predictions with US national averages. Throughout the lesson, they consider relationships among percent, part, and whole. To get the most from this lesson, students should have some prior exposure to percent. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6
  • The Lowdown | What You Need to Know about Immigration Reform

    Interpret graphs showing changes over time in the percentage of foreign-born US residents and in annual deportations in this interactive from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students use the interactive and look at how rates have changed over the decades. They also extrapolate to future years. To get the most from this lesson, students should be comfortable interpreting slope as rate of change over time. They should also be able to find the equation of a line when given two points. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 8
  • The Lowdown | Counting Undocumented

    Explore the number of undocumented immigrants living in California by county and compare populations and labor force to the rest of the United States in this interactive from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students look at the numbers in their own state and compare the center and variability to the rest of their region. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 7-8
  • The Lowdown | Understanding Inflation: A Stop Motion Explainer, Parts 1 and 2

    Explore a real-life application of percentage—the math behind rates of inflation—in two animated videos about inflation from KQED. The first video provides an overview of inflation; the second explains the role of inflation in a healthy economy. In the accompanying classroom activity, students find the price of a given item (e.g., a pair of jeans) this year, last year, 50 years ago, and 100 years ago and compare percentage price increase with total rate of inflation over each time period. To get the most from this lesson, students should be comfortable finding percentage increase and interpreting percentages greater than 100. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6
  • The Lowdown | San Francisco Affordable Housing Gap

    Explore the math of housing affordability on a minimum wage salary in the expensive city of San Francisco in this interactive from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students investigate housing affordability locally. They determine monthly salary of a minimum wage worker, and then find how many minimum wage salaries would be needed to pay for an inexpensive 2-bedroom apartment, assuming 30% of wages go to rent. Next, students use the interactive. To get the most from this lesson, students should have some prior experience calculating percentages, given a part and a whole. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6-7
  • The Lowdown | How Much Does It Really Cost to Raise a Child?

    Calculate the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 in different US regions, accounting for food, shelter, schooling, and other necessities, in this interactive from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students explore real-life data while developing and solving ratio and percentage word problems. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 7
  • The Lowdown | Made in America: The High Cost of Fashion

    Investigate data on changes over time in where our apparel is made and how much we spend on it in these images from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students use the interactive and graph the data. They also look for patterns and relationships. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 8
  • The Lowdown | Wealth Inequality by Transit Line

    Explore the Bay Area's major public transit lines and the dramatic income disparities that exist among the communities living along those routes in this infographic from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students interpret the data and calculate the mean, median, and range for a given transit line. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6
  • The Lowdown | Time for A Raise? What You Need to Know About the Minimum Wage

    Explore the numbers at stake in the debate over raising federal minimum wage in this interactive from KQED. The interactive compares nominal and real wages adjusted for inflation and how minimum wage rates differ throughout the country. In the accompanying classroom activity, students graph the data to find trends and patterns and learn that understanding the numbers can help them come to their own conclusions about the issue. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 7-8
  • The Lowdown | Violent Crime Rates: Detroit, Oakland, New York, and LA

    Interpret data from the FBI that display violent crime rates from 1991–2012 in Oakland, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and in the United States overall in this infographic from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students interpret, graph, and analyze similar data. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6
  • The Lowdown | America's 10 Most Violent Cities (2012)

    Review data based on FBI Uniform Crime Statistics that displays 2012 crime statistics for the 10 most violent cities in the United States in this infographic from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students find the maximum, minimum, and range of data presented in a bar graph. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6
  • The Lowdown | Indoor/Outdoor Residential Water Use in California

    Compare data about indoor and outdoor residential water use in northern and southern sites in this infographic from KQED and the California Single Family Water Use Efficiency Study. The accompanying classroom activity helps students find the minimum and maximum values in a given data set. It also helps them convert given values into percentages of a total and then represent those percentages in a pie chart. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6
  • The Lowdown | Household Water Use by Appliance Type

    Compare data about the indoor water use of various household appliances in this infographic from California Single Family Water Use Efficiency Study, from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students analyze given data and represent it in a different way. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6
  • The Lowdown | The Math of Credit Cards

    In this video from KQED, learn how credit cards work. In particular, you’ll discover the impact and high cost of outstanding balances when borrowing money using credit cards. In the accompanying classroom activity, students discuss the key concepts presented in the video, including the relationship between lines of credit, debt, spending, and interest charges. They then learn to calculate simple interest. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6-7
  • The Lowdown | U.S. Gun Homicides: Visualizing the Numbers

    Explore firearm deaths in the United States in 2010 by type, race, and age group in this interactive from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students are presented with a simple question: Is America a safe place to live? In forming a response, students examine data in pie charts and bar graphs and try to figure out what story the data tell. They also list questions whose answers would help them come to a better understanding of the issue of gun violence in America. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 7
  • The Lowdown | Data Sets: What A Typical Thanksgiving Meal Costs This Year

    In this infographic from KQED, explore the changes in costs of ingredients for a typical Thanksgiving meal from one year to the next. In the accompanying classroom activity, students consider the advantages and disadvantages of the graphical display used in the infographic. They then create a different graphical display of the infographic data. To get the most from this lesson, students should be comfortable representing data in a variety of ways, such as with bar charts, pie charts, and scatter plots. Some familiarity with percent and proportion is helpful. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6
  • Ballot Battles, Part 3: A New Generation of Voting Barriers

    Explore some of the math behind claims of voter suppression, with emphasis on percentages in different voter demographics, in this infographic from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students discuss the infographic and consider what information beyond the percentages given would be needed to give a fuller picture of voter demographics. To get the most from this lesson, students should have some prior exposure to percent. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6
  • Ballot Battles, Part 2: How the Voting Rights Act Lost Its Strength

    Explore some of the math behind voter turnout demographics,with emphasis on percentages, in this infographic from KQED. In the accompanying classroom activity, students discuss the infographic. They compare percentages in different demographic groups, look for historical trends among percent of voters in different groups, and consider relationships among percent, part, and whole. To get the most from this lesson, students should have some prior exposure to percent. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

    Grades: 6

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